20 FCS names to know for 2017 NFL Draft
(STATS) – FCS prospects are easy to spot during the NFL draft – they’re the ones wearing a chip on their shoulder.
They feel overlooked and a need to do more than their FBS counterparts.
There hadn’t been a first-rounder since 2008 before the Philadelphia Eagles selected former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in last year’s draft.
While there will be a few FCS players taken on the second day of this week’s three-day draft in Philadelphia, the majority will go on the final day. From there, they’ll go to work, trying to prove they’re bringing great value at a lower price.
The FCS level has come to have about 18 draft selections each year, with 20 going last year.
Here are 20 FCS names to know for this year’s draft:
Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington, WR, 6-2, 204 – Consummate route runner was a four-time FCS first-team All-American and set Division I career records for receptions (428), receiving yards (6,464) and touchdown catches (73). Projection: 2nd-3rd round.
Derek Rivers, Youngstown State, OLB/DE, 6-4, 248 – Athletic edge rusher boosted his stock at the NFL combine. Set the Missouri Valley Football Conference record with 41 career sacks, including 14 as a senior while Youngstown State was the FCS national runner-up. Projection: 3rd round.
Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova, DE, 6-7, 289 – The huge size, athleticism and upside of five-technique D-end has drawn comparisons to New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Projection: 3rd round.
Jessamen Dunker, Tennessee State, OG, 6-4, 318 – Four-year starter who shifted between tackle and guard in college has the ideal athleticism to play on the interior of an offensive line. Projection: 4th-5th round.
Julie’n Davenport, Bucknell, OT, 6-7, 318 – Having never missed a start at left tackle in his college career, the work-in-progress uses 36 1/2-inch arms and 10 1/2-inch hands to keep edge rushers at bay. Projection: 4th-5th round.
Brendan Langley, Lamar, CB, 6-0, 204 – Former Georgia Bulldog mixes speed (4.43 40-yard dash) and strength (22 reps on the 225-pound bench press) with terrific ball skills. Expected to contribute early on special teams, perhaps as a punt returner. Projection: 6th round.
De’Angelo Henderson, Coastal Carolina, RB, 5-7, 208 – Has the speed (4.48 40), strength (22 bench press reps) and pass-catching skills (97 career receptions) to suit a third-down role. Scored a touchdown in a Division I-record 35 straight games. Projection: 6th round.
Eric Saubert, Drake, TE, 6-5, 253 – Set back by his level of competition in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, but has good size and speed for his position. Excellent at going up and catching balls in the red zone. Projection: 6th round.
Ezra Robinson, Tennessee State, CB, 5-11, 189 – Has good ball skills and an excellent vertical leap, but must get stronger physically to handle bigger NFL receivers. Projection: 6th round.
Keionta Davis, Chattanooga, DE, 6-3, 271 – Southern Conference defensive player of the year has a low, compact frame to power off the snap and do the dirty work to open up space for interior defenders. Projection: 6th-7th round.
Lorenzo Jerome, Saint Francis, FS, 5-10, 204 – Lack of NFL-level speed is a concern, but followed up a superb college career (18 career interceptions) with an excellent postseason all-star game resume. Also was an All-America kickoff returner. Projection: 6th-7th round.
Corey Levin, Chattanooga, OG, 6-4, 307 – Used low anchor and strong hands to post a standout college career. Has the skill set to also play center at the next level. Projection: 6th-7th round.
Chad Williams, Grambling State, WR, 6-1, 204 – Impressed on the all-star game circuit with his natural hands and downfield explosion. Offseason arrest in 2016 brings extra vetting. Projection: 7th round.
Dylan Cole, Missouri State, OLB, 6-0, 233 – Impressive pro day, including 32 reps on the bench press, was a boost for last year’s leading tackler in the FCS. Had a school-record six tackles for loss, including a sack, in a 2014 game against Oklahoma State. Projection: 7th Round.
Alex Torgersen, Penn, QB, 6-2, 220 – Technically sound with good passing touch, but he has to show he can make NFL-level reads. Holds the Ivy League record for career completion percentage (67.4). Projection: 7th round.
Jerry Ugokwe, William & Mary, OG, 6-7, 321 – Late-developing talent who has an NFL frame and works well on the move. College career in a pro-style system is an added bonus. Projection: 7th round.
Avery Moss, Youngstown State, DE, 6-3, 264 – Spent final two seasons at Youngstown State after reuniting with his former coach at Nebraska, Bo Pelini. Strong enough to shed blocks consistently and attack ball carriers. Projection: 7th round-Free Agent.
Tarik Cohen, North Carolina A&T, RB, 5-6, 179 – Surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in each of his four seasons while setting the MEAC career record (5,619). Eyed as a quick (4.42 40) change-of-pace back who catches passes with his surprising 10 1/8-inch hands. Projection: 7th round-free agent.
David Jones, Richmond, SS, 6-2, 210 – Has suffered a broken left forearm twice since December 2015, but when healthy, the fast, athletic safety was dominant, including nine interceptions as a junior. A strong pro day appears to have eased some of the injury concerns. Projection: 7th round-free agent.
Javarius Leamon, South Carolina State, OT, 6-7, 332 – Possesses an athletic NFL frame, but skill set needs refining. Effective with landing blocks on the second level. Projection: 7th round-free agent.
- Avery Moss
- Chattanooga Mocs
- Derek Rivers
- Dylan Cole
- FCS (I-AA)
- Javarius Leamon
- Missouri State Bears
- Missouri Valley
- North Carolina A&T Aggies
- South Carolina State Bulldogs
- Tarik Cohen
- Tennessee State Tigers
- Youngstown State Penguins